4 Amazing Buckwheat Recipes to Try This Holiday Season - Modern Farmer

4 Amazing Buckwheat Recipes to Try This Holiday Season

You’ve enjoyed buckwheat flour in soba, breads and pancakes. But what about buckwheat groats?

Photography Michelle Rabin

Buckwheat needs no introduction. Its flour is commonly stirred into our pancake batter, used to make soba noodles, and often can be found in multigrain breads and crackers.  Buckwheat groats, however, are not as commonly seen in North American diets. While grains like rice, barley and quinoa have made their way onto American tables, buckwheat groats haven’t been incorporated into our meals with the same favor. And that’s a shame, because buckwheat is incredibly healthy, easy to prepare and delicious.

My first experience with buckwheat was when I was a kid. My grandmother used to make buckwheat groats and mix it with bowtie pasta and stewed onions; a Jewish dish called kasha varnishkes. I remember the taste of the buckwheat being so strong and musty that for years I believed I hated it. That is, until I was forced to test a recipe that used buckwheat as its main ingredient. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was: so nutty, earthy and textured. Perhaps its flavor is too strong for a child’s palate, but buckwheat is such a versatile grain that I believe it deserves a second chance.

Despite its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. It’s a fruit seed that doesn’t contain gluten, which means the recipes below are perfect for your next holiday party, should any of the guests be gluten intolerant, vegetarian, or on a low GI diet. I spoke to Chris Wooding, the farmer at Ironwood Organic Farm in Ontario, who harvests buckwheat for the sole purpose of catering to the gluten free population. It’s a newly lucrative market.

Although carbohydrates are buckwheat’s main dietary component, it is rich in protein, and various minerals. In a study published by the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, researchers declared that buckwheat has a wide range of health benefits: anticancer, anti-inflammatory, it helps lower cholesterol, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, and is associated with the reduction of symptoms for non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Buckwheat also contains antioxidants, prebiotics, and is high in fiber.

Beyond the health benefits, buckwheat is a cash crop that can be great for farmers as well. Ironwood Organics’ Chris Wooding plants buckwheat to help maintain soil quality and manage soil erosion. It grows very thick and lush without the need of pesticides or fertilizer. Because of its prolific nature, it doesn’t give space for weeds to grow, thus requiring little maintenance. New markets for buckwheat are also popping up: beyond the groats and flour, the hulls—a byproduct when milling buckwheat—are creating revenue as pillow stuffers.

So, next time you’re mulling over what to eat, consider buckwheat. The recipes below give three entirely different ways of using the seed to demonstrate its versatility — and delectability.

Sweet and Savoury Buckwheat Granola

Servings: 1 1/4 Cups

Granola is usually reserved for sweet breakfasts, sprinkled on top of yogurt and fresh berries. This granola recipe is reserved specifically for savory dishes. Buckwheat groats get tossed with almonds, sesame seeds and dates making it a great topper for roasted squash, or kale salad. I sprinkled it on top roasted carrots but the possibilities are endless.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup uncoooked buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (black or white or both)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl then spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Overnight Kefir-Soaked Buckwheat Groats

Servings: 2

First and foremost, this recipe is addictively delicious. Buckwheat groats soften overnight in kefir and then get sweetened with grated apple, golden raisins and buckwheat honey. It’s a meal or snack that will keep you full for hours and the best part: it’s incredibly healthy. Compound all the health benefits of buckwheat with kefir’s probiotics and you’ve got yourself a magical breakfast.

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup uncooked buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1small apple, grated
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp buckwheat honey (or regular honey)
Instructions

Place buckwheat groats and kefir in a jar. Store in fridge for 5 hours or overnight.

Stir in apple and raisins. Drizzle with honey.

Buckwheat Berry Crumble

Servings: 6

Fruit crumbles let you celebrate the season with whatever fresh fruit is available. It’s a no brainer dessert (or breakfast) that impresses a crowd despite the fact that it takes almost no skill to make. The addition of buckwheat flour elevates the crumble by lending a deeper, nuttier flavor to the topping; a flavor that compliments fresh tart berries so very well.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 cups mixed berries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F.

Prepare the topping by mixing buckwheat flour, oats, sugar, butter, walnuts and cinnamon in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to work the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Set aside.

Gently mix berries with lemon zest, remaining sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.

Place berries in a 9-inch cast iron pan then top with crumble.

Bake until topping turns golden around the edges and berries are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Beet and Buckwheat Plate

Servings: 2

The nutty and earthy flavors of beets and buckwheat groats compliment each other so well. A swoosh of thick greek yogurt, some thinly sliced white onions and a sprig of dill are all that I needed to add to make this a restaurant worthy dish. I added some herring, which is completely optional. Serve with some hard-boiled eggs, or shredded chicken for some extra protein.

Ingredients
  • 4 cooked small beets, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats, cooked as per package instructions
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions

In a bowl, toss beets with vinegar and salt.

Smear Greek yogurt on a plate. Place buckwheat groats over yogurt and then top with beets.

Garnish with onions and dill the drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Marlene

Please place me on your news letter list.

Thanks very much,
Marlene

I’m a farmer and we raised buckwheat this last year. The soil health benefits are more than you listed and we have the soil tests results that were very interesting. The honey is very delicious as well and bees love buckwheat . I am trying to do more farm to table sales but buckwheat is a challenge. Flour isn’t a problem but do you have a suggestion on how to hull buckwheat or a resource I could contact?

Thanks
Roy

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